Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been honoured with the 2010 World Statesman Award by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition which promotes mutual understanding, tolerance and peace.
India's Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, accepted the award on behalf of the prime minister an a glittering ceremony in New York on Tuesday from the Foundation espousing fundamental values of freedom, democracy and human rights for peace, security and shared prosperity.
In his recorded acceptance speech, Manmohan Singh said: "India has been guided since ancient times by the fundamental belief that while spiritual expression takes many forms and the journey for universal truth takes many paths, we are all united by our highest values, ideals and our inherent humanism."
Delivering the commendation address, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger described Manmohan Singh as a statesman with vision, persistence and integrity, and praised him for his leadership, which has been instrumental in the economic transformation underway in India.
Stressing the close convergence of India and US interest in Asia including Afghanistan, he called for regional countries, particularly India to play a greater role in pursuing ways to bring peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.
Conveying the greetings of the US Government, Under Secretary of State William Burns said: "There could truly be no better choice, and no better model of what integrity and statesmanship are all about on the world stage.
"A man of even temperament, and remarkable modesty and humility, Prime Minister Singh has demonstrated clear vision and steely determination as a leader, bringing great benefit to India and to the rest of the world."
Accepting the award on behalf of the Prime Minister Shankar thanked Rabbi Schneier, President of the Appeal of Conscience and said that his extraordinary mission addresses one of the most important challenges for humanity."
It was a challenge "that more than at any other time in human history is critical for the future peace and prosperity of our world, which has become far more integrated and interdependent," she added.
"In honouring Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation has honoured a leader of extraordinary statesmanship, vision and intellect who is guiding the destiny of the world's largest democracy," she said.